\ ˈhärm How to pronounce harm (audio) \

Definition of harm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : physical or mental damage : injury the amount of harm sustained by the boat during the storm
2 : mischief, hurt I meant you no harm.


harmed; harming; harms

Definition of harm (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to damage or injure physically or mentally : to cause harm (see harm entry 1) to No animals were harmed in the making of the film. the national interest … was gravely harmed by this attack— Elmer Davis

Other Words from harm


harmer noun

Synonyms for harm

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for harm


injure, harm, hurt, damage, impair, mar mean to affect injuriously. injure implies the inflicting of anything detrimental to one's looks, comfort, health, or success. badly injured in an accident harm often stresses the inflicting of pain, suffering, or loss. careful not to harm the animals hurt implies inflicting a wound to the body or to the feelings. hurt by their callous remarks damage suggests injury that lowers value or impairs usefulness. a table damaged in shipping impair suggests a making less complete or efficient by deterioration or diminution. years of smoking had impaired his health mar applies to injury that spoils perfection (as of a surface) or causes disfigurement. the text is marred by many typos

Examples of harm in a Sentence

Noun They threatened him with bodily harm. The scandal has done irreparable harm to his reputation. She'll do anything to protect her children from harm. They have suffered serious physical harm. These new regulations could cause lasting harm to small businesses. Verb He would never intentionally harm his children. chemicals that could harm the environment The scandal has seriously harmed his reputation. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Rising temperatures and lengthy droughts make conditions worse and more people are in harm’s way. Dinah Voyles Pulver, USA TODAY, 16 May 2022 Any supplies delivered after an attack would have to be flown in or delivered by ship, putting the supplier directly in harm’s way. Roger Wicker, WSJ, 4 May 2022 Protecting his father’s ranch has put Kayce’s own nuclear family in harm’s way. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Apr. 2022 Since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, more than 5 million Ukrainians have fled their country, many by train as conductors and attendants risk putting themselves in harm’s way to help their compatriots. NBC News, 20 Apr. 2022 While experimental aircraft are expected to crash during test flights, current and former employees say pressure to get the program back on track has prompted some managers to take unnecessary risks that have put personnel in harm’s way. Spencer Soper, Matt Day, Fortune, 11 Apr. 2022 The agency weighed the potential for patient benefits against the significance of serious unknown factors that could result in harm, Dr. Lee Fleisher, CMS chief medical officer, said in a statement. Tami Luhby, CNN, 7 Apr. 2022 Flight attendants say they have often been put in harm’s way, trying to enforce the mask mandate on belligerent passengers, and ensure the safety of the passengers. oregonlive, 24 Mar. 2022 Flight attendants say they have often been put in harm’s way, trying to enforce the mask mandate on belligerent passengers, and ensure the safety of the passengers. Hugo Martín, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Pitman had found that the law would harm social media companies’ free speech rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Reuters, NBC News, 14 May 2022 One of many arguments made by environmentalists against tunnels in the Delta is that building and operating them would harm endemic species. David Owen, The New Yorker, 11 May 2022 Republicans have argued student debt cancellation would shift billions of dollars of debt to taxpayers and would harm the economy. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 27 Apr. 2022 But the company’s plan to erect up to 83 wind turbines at the site known as Oak Wells has already drawn opposition from local ranchers who say the wind farm would harm rangeland as well as the environment and native wildlife. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 25 Apr. 2022 And tourism minister Prasanna Ranatunge warned the protests would further harm economic prospects, Reuters reported. Rukshana Rizwie, Sophie Jeong And Alex Stambaugh, CNN, 1 Apr. 2022 It’s one of several studies finding that such a move would harm the German economy but ultimately be manageable. Washington Post, 28 Mar. 2022 Rose, with the industry association, testified that HB 457 would harm the valuable work PBMs perform in negotiating good drug prices and keeping overall costs down. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, 28 Mar. 2022 West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore, a Republican, plans to block the state from using BlackRock for banking transactions, because Moore says the firm’s net-zero goal would harm his state’s coal industry. Larry Light, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'harm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of harm


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for harm

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English hearm; akin to Old High German harm injury, Old Church Slavonic sramŭ shame

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Time Traveler for harm

Time Traveler

The first known use of harm was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near harm



harm's way

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Statistics for harm

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Harm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harm. Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for harm


\ ˈhärm How to pronounce harm (audio) \

Kids Definition of harm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: physical or mental damage : injury The storm did little harm to the sheltered beach.


harmed; harming

Kids Definition of harm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause hurt, injury, or damage to insects that harm trees

Choose the Right Synonym for harm


harm, injury, and damage mean an act that causes loss or pain. harm can be used of anything that causes suffering or loss. The frost did great harm to the crops. injury is likely to be used of something that has as a result the loss of health or success. She suffered an injury to the eyes. damage stresses the idea of loss (as of value or fitness). The fire caused much damage to the furniture.



Legal Definition of harm

: loss of or damage to a person's right, property, or physical or mental well-being : injury

Other Words from harm

harm transitive verb

More from Merriam-Webster on harm

Nglish: Translation of harm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of harm for Arabic Speakers


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